Updated: 08/04/17 : 07:12:46Printable Version
I return from Germany this afternoon where over the past two days I have had extensive engagement with various current and prospective trade, tourism and investment interests in both Frankfurt and Berlin. You may not be aware that Germany is in fact Ireland's fourth largest merchandise trade partner, with total bilateral trade of approximately €25 billion. Given that it is also the largest economy in Europe, the importance of this visit at this time of uncertainty, in the context of Brexit, is clear.
Here in Germany I have been emphasising Ireland's continuing support for investment, trade and tourism between our two countries. Today, in addition to meeting with several Irish companies and their German partners, I will take part in a round table event organised by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce, which will also include representatives of German businesses and trade organisations. Later, I will lead a meeting with representatives of German think-tanks active on European, foreign and economic policy issues.
I have taken the opportunity throughout this visit to highlight and explain Ireland's particular concerns arising from Brexit in relation to our trade and economy; Northern Ireland and the peace process; the Common Travel Area; border and citizenship issues; and the future direction of the EU. I have also emphasised Ireland’s strong ongoing commitment to EU membership, and our intention to work constructively and calmly, as part of the EU team, towards a close and positive future relationship with the UK.
I am continuing to engage with EU Heads of Government and State in order to make the case for and on behalf of Ireland and our very unique position in terms of Brexit. On Tuesday, I met with Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, in Government Buildings and yesterday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel here in Berlin. The Government's engagement on Brexit has been crucial in ensuring that our partners properly understand our concerns all across the Union. Chancellor Merkel and I had a very productive exchange of views on the negotiating process ahead and how best to work together, as part of the EU team, on a range of issues.
Of course, we are also very keen to hear you the people's opinions on Brexit and how it might impact you. On Monday next 10th April, I will attend the latest in a series of Fine Gael Public Meetings on Brexit in the Westgrove Hotel Clane, Co. Kildare at 7pm. Another meeting will take place on the same night in the Heritage Hotel Portlaoise at 8pm and please do feel free to come along to either. You can view a full list of Brexit public meetings Fine Gael has held here.
Yours sincerely,Enda Kenny TD